Forage research indicates that, although alfalfa is considered to have good cold temperature tolerance, minor frost damage may occur when plants are exposed to air temperatures slightly below freezing for several hours, and more severe damage will be seen when temperatures drop below 25°F for four or more hours.
South Dakota farmers can monitor South Dakota basis for corn, soybeans, spring wheat and hard red winter wheat in their region relative to export bids and historical basis ranges using the SDSU Extension Grain Basis Tool.
Low temperatures during the early morning hours of May 9–11, 2020 may have had detrimental effects on winter wheat in some areas of South Dakota. However, cooler spring temperatures that have slowed the winter wheat development this year may have actually been beneficial to S.D. producers, as later-maturing wheat is not as susceptible to injury from freezing temperatures.
Tan spot and powdery mildew as well as barley yellow dwarf were found developing at low levels in winter wheat fields scouted the week of May 24, 2020.
Activity of alfalfa weevils has been documented in many areas of South Dakota during the last week. At this time, the entire state has accumulated enough degree days for alfalfa weevils to be active.
The 2018 and 2019 alfalfa weevil populations were relatively low, and as a result, we didn’t receive very many calls regarding this pest during those years. However, 2020 has been quite a bit different, and alfalfa weevil populations seem to be much higher.
Winter wheat is starting to flower. It is important to monitor weather conditions from when wheat is heading until flowering to decide the need for fungicide application to manage Fusarium head blight.
As haying season approaches, producers across South Dakota will begin preparing to get out the baler. In recent years, it has been quite difficult for many producers to put up quality, dry hay. This often results in growers considering using inoculants and hay preservatives.
As farms and ranches across South Dakota continue to endure increasing costs of production while receiving less cash for grain and livestock marketed; ranch managers must be extra diligent when implementing new range improvements and grazing systems on their ranches.
Of all of the potential early season pests, the seedcorn maggot is rarely an issue in South Dakota. However, we have started receiving reports of soybean fields that have poor emergence or seedling stand reductions occurring.